She is…at the bottom of a great well, in a darkness that no light can penetrate. She is slumbering in the depths of a cold sea, in the dark of a deep abyss. She is robbed of conscious thought, of sight and sound. No light, no warmth. She is a being of darkness and twilight, of shadow and emptiness. She thinks of nothing, she is nothing. A spirit of the night. But there is a sound- a faint murmur of sound. Words- there are voices, rising her from below.
There is a stirring- a warmth- a feeling- a voice echoing faintly in the dark. There is a call, an echo, a whisper of more. But the darkness is a living, tangible thing- and it has her in a comforting embrace, familiar and needed. She does not know if she desires to leave it, or even if she can.
It is herself that rouses her, the remains of her being, a voice as solemn and fleeting as a winter wind. 'Awaken. You must awaken.' There is a murmur, a hesitant whisper in the night- it is herself, echoing in the confines of her mind. It is herself waking, rising slowly- although she knows not what that means. But it is awakening, it is coming together, unwinding. It is her, shifting in the dark, movement groggy and slow.
'Who…?' She thinks carefully, slowly. 'Who…' she thinks again, the very act of conscious thought difficult, painful. But the voices are insistent, strong- she reflects upon them as if from a great distance- but they are growing closer, nearer- louder.
'Who…is calling me?' She thinks, padding quietly into the recesses of the dark. 'Who knows my name?'
"-Come back to us My Lady-"
'But I am not missing. I am not lost.'- she thinks as she creeps toward the dawn, just beginning to illuminate the darkness. 'I am right here.'
She slowly came to herself, her vision met with a dream induced haze, her entire body a boneless thing incapable of motion. Her vision is fading- drifting in and out of focus as if her body is contemplating falling back into slumber.
'No…not yet…' she thinks slowly, fighting the fade with a weariness that is only just beginning to make itself known. She is…laying in a bath, body submerged in crystal clear water scented with lavender and jasmine. Flowers float gently on the surface of the pool, beautiful flowers the color of translucent lavender, delicate pinks and sun kissed petals, perfuming the air with a gentle scent. She eyes them tentatively, and the visage of her body, floating pale and forlorn beneath them. Long inky blue-black tendrils drift lazily beneath the waters surface, and it is extended moment before she realizes it is the length of her hair, enshrouding her form from sight.
Groggily she raises a hand before her face, surprised at the smooth unblemished palms and pale manicured hands that she finds. And she realizes she cannot even remember what about the observation is surprising. 'How odd' she thinks slowly, head rolling back on the delicate stalk of her neck, surprised at the heavy length of her hair against the back of it. She blinks wearily, owlishly staring up without sight into the leafy canopy overhead, the soft glow of an early morning sun peeking from between the mossy branches and flower laden boughs. Her eyes struggle to stay open, tempted to sink into the warmth, to soak up the gentle rays and be lulled back into a deep slumber from which she would not awaken.'No...not yet.' something within her rises, a coaxing murmur in the back of her mind, 'Not yet.'
But there is a voice, a lowly murmured oath filled with an urgency she does not feel."Hurry and summon the master! Tell him Lady Hinata has awakened!"
Her head swims, murmuring faintly with fragmented whispers of thoughts she is incapable of grasping. She closes her eyes, just beginning to come to terms with herself as she lays in the comfort of the warm water. She feels detached, removed from the very body she is in possession of, eyes opening to drift lazily around the perimeter of the pool. She finds that it is surrounded on all sides by an encroachment of small trees, dipping and bending overhead, as if they wish to shield her and this place from a cruel and unforgiving world. She finds her gaze resting on the clusters of those sweet smelling flowers- the color of the sky at sunset, the blue of an ocean of the clearest water, the pink of an early morn. And as if aware of her gaze, she watches idly as a flower detaches itself from overhead, floating down gently. She catches it carefully in her palm, wondering at the softness and warmth of it in her hand. It is the color of a full moon, serene and forlorn in her palm. She holds it carefully, delicately, eyes tracing the length of its smooth petals.
It is…the voices from the dark, speaking to her- clear and focused, no longer murky whispers. For a moment she contemplates the words, struggling to accept them, her gaze transfixed by the flower in her hand. 'A lady', the voice had said. Her eyes tiredly drift to the side of the pool from which the voice had come and she wonders how she has missed the owners of them before.
There are two dark haired women perched there, clothed all in white, their dark heads bowed to the ground in respect. She struggles to form a cohesive thought as she realizes they are waiting, staring at them blankly as they slowly raise their heads at her silence. She is met with matching pairs of the deepest black, eyes as dark as the night between the stars, glimmering like polished stones. They are beautiful she thinks- skin as white as snow, black hair pulled back into elaborately ornate designs. 'They are beautiful,' she thinks, and yet- she struggles to voice the thought, the whisper that will not leave her. Her lips are moving- but they are devoid of sound, of words.
They eye her delicately, as if they are visibly searching for any manner of flaw. They spare one another a glance with their porcelain eyes, and one proceeds to speak clearly and carefully to her, in a voice without a distinguishable lilt or tone.
"Our humble apologies My Lady Hinata. We had not expected you to awaken so soon, or else this one would have made sure you were properly clothed and prepared."
In unison they bowed again, in apology for this slight, although she is not in a position to accept it nor grasp it. They seem aware of this as well, and rise to eye her carefully as if they have been expecting it.
"You are newly awakened and we humbly ask that you do not waste your energy on ones such as we. Rest assured Lady Hinata, we will take care of you." She states carefully, porcelain eyes conveying this vow with a promise.
They rise gracefully and she is surprised to find that although their faces are clear and unblemished as befitted matured women, their bodies were slight and delicate like children. She is incapable of getting her lethargic body to cooperate with her, and she wonders if they will even be able to manage her weight with such slight frames. They take a position on each side of her, and to her amazement both of them take a step onto the surface of the pool. She stares with wonder as they do not plummet through its serene surface, but stand, balancing delicately on the surface of the crystal clear water as if they weigh no more than the flowers floating around their feet. Stooping gracefully, and without causing so much as a ripple in the pool, their hands gently part the water, gathering her into their arms. Even though the water is warm, she shivers at the chill of their skin, like winter frost.
But they raise her from the pool, as delicately as if she is an infant, and as if she too weighs less than nothing. Her head rolls back as they lift her, idly watching the black length of her hair rippling behind her. Seeing but somehow blind her eyes wander listlessly at the beauty of this strange secluded place, and it's strange women children. The pool itself has been painstakingly carved from marble, the lip and rim skillfully inlaid with twisting vines and golden leaves. The bath is small- and yet somehow it had been perfectly proportioned for her- and filled with those beautiful flowers, sprouting along the rim, and hanging into the bath- colors she is just beginning to realize that she recognizes. She is still clutching the flower in her palm, and parts her fingers to allow it to fall into pool below. It is a sight of such peaceful, serene beauty that it would have taken her breath away had she been capable of appreciating it.
The two women gently place her onto a raised dais that has seemed to mysteriously appear of its own accord, in a place where before she had been certain there had been nothing save for the bright green of grass and moss. One delicately holds her upright as she sits, while the other began to gently wipe her bare body down with a warm, fluffy towel. She released a breath she has not known she has been holding, otherwise incapable of the embarrassment that she is certain such an act should inspire. Instead she finds herself staring with blank eyed curiosity at the girl, as she meticulously draws the length of the towel up and down her bare arms, the length of her legs. Although the girl does not once meet her eyes, there is a peculiar thought that nonetheless she is conscious of her gaze.
"My lady Hinata if it pleases you, this one is called Ichi. And that one is called Ni."
'One...and two?' she pondered listlessly with muted interest, wondering at the callous indifference of the parents whom had named them. As if they could not be bothered with even the slightest bit of effort to invest more thought than was absolutely necessary in the process.
She nodded slightly in reply, the only sign of consent she seemed capable of bestowing to the girl. Once she is reasonably dry, Ni holds up the length of her hair while Ichi delicately drapes a silken fabric over her shoulders. It is a pure white robe, made of a luxurious silk that feels magnificent along her skin. She sighs in pleasure at the feel of it, as Ni helps her work her lethargic limbs into its sleeves, she feels her eyes drift closed.
When she opens them again they are in a white walled bedroom. The entire room is made of gleaming white marble, and she finds herself seated on another low dais, this time before a gleaming panel of mirrors. There is a reflection there- of two foxes, white as snow and the most beautiful woman she has ever seen.
The woman's skin is pale and unblemished, nearly translucent, soft and delicate. There is a long thick mass of hair rippling from the crown of her head, so long that it pools along the floor around her feet. There is a serene, gentle face, framed by dark bangs and long forelocks. The woman's delicate pink lips are partially open, as if she is sighing a gentle breath. Her smooth cheeks are slightly flushed, pale lavender eyes hinged becomingly with thick dark lashes. One of the foxes is gently untangling knots in her dark mane with a golden comb, while the other stands by, perched attentively on its hind legs. There is something brewing there as she watches the figures in the mirror, a murmur of feeling, but it slips between her fingers as soon as it is within her grasp.
"My Lady Hinata"- the standing fox begins, muzzle wiggling delicately as she speaks-"Our master has chosen a garment for your awakening, and hopes it is to your liking." She nodded dumbly as she blinks and turns her head slightly, watching as Ni padded away softly behind them and out of the scope of the mirror's reflection. Ichi continues with the long mane of her hair, swiftly and painlessly braiding pieces into an elaborate design behind her head, allowing the rest of the strands to hang loosely along her back.
She drifts in and out of consciousness beneath the ministrations of those quick cold hands, and comes too finding herself standing before the mirror, a beautiful silk kimono wrapped delicately around her form. It is a shade of silken purple, covered in blooming flowers in shades of pink and lavender, blowing beautifully across the fabric as if by an unknown wind. The sleeves are long- as she stands they fall past her hands, enshrouding them. Ichi takes a step back, observing her with sharp black eyes.
"If you will pardon this one for being forward, you are beautiful Lady Hinata. We are certain master will think so as well."
She stares blankly at the girl, hearing words but still unable to comprehend them. Ni returns with a whisper like the wind, although now she finds she is uncertain if the girl had ever left. Once more without speaking a word they help her back to another dais that had seemed to mysteriously appear in the empty room, a soft lounge chair. They help her lower her body into it, back resting against the arm rest, and she finds herself seated before a massive, ornate door. Ichi and Ni stand, bowing to her once more in fluid unison.
"Master comes. We are but a summon away Lady Hinata. We hope that we unworthy ones have befitted you to your liking."
And as suddenly as the furniture, she blinks and the room is empty save for her. She lies leisurely spread across the soft seat on which they have placed her, groggily trying to come to terms with the grand room, the beautiful clothes, the foxes and the woman in mirror. She is feeling the beginnings of something, some undercurrent of emotion, of thought swimming below the empty planes of her subconscious. Progress is slow- but it is steady.
'My name…is Hinata…' she thinks carefully, suddenly, as before, feeling an instinctive desire to look at her hands. Carefully she raises her right, allowing the silk of the kimono to call into the crook of her elbow with a whisper along her skin. She finds her gaze is met with a simple white ribbon hinged with lace, wrapped delicately around her ring finger. 'Ah…' She thinks for a moment, staring at the small white band, feeling something stir in the pit of her memory. She struggles to unhinge the thought, on the tip of her tongue, lost. What…is that on her finger? It feels…familiar. And yet…there is a peculiar dread, building in her chest, a strange anxiety she cannot explain. And there is a strange bitterness on her tongue, sudden and unfounded. It is strong and potent- it tastes like regret…like despair. There is a moment in which she turns and stares, startled at her own shadow against the porcelain floor, as haunting and somber as a spirit haunting a grave. She turns away from the thought with an acute breath, before she can even begin to realize why it frightens her.
'How odd,' She thinks in bewildered wonder, pale eyes roaming around the length of the chamber, beautiful and empty save for the subtle sounds of her breath. Somehow…somehow she is not afraid, although she is certain the need exists, she can feel it there- in the black pit of Ichi and Ni's eyes. She had seen it in the mirror- the strange woman that is herself and yet not herself- and the foxes, white as snow. She has no answers because she has no questions- she only has herself, this strange woman they called Lady, and she cannot on any account remember why.
'My name is Hinata.' She repeats carefully, with something like conviction although it is hollow because she has no validation for the claim. There is only a feeling of familiarity, of comfort in the name, and it is her only indication that this is true. 'My name is Hinata.' She repeats again, within, anew, as if will bring with it all of the memories that have vacated her, and all of the words that have left her.
She is not watching the doors when they part, but immediately she catches sight of them as they swing open with ease, as if they are light as feathers and without a sound. And to her utmost surprise, a man flows between them, so gracefully it is as if he has the wind beneath his steps, carrying him across the floor. Something sharp, and poignant cuts through the fade, dismantling the fog so thoroughly that her head rings. She stares, feeling her breath catch in her throat as his eyes find hers.
He is…he is staring at her as if she is a dream he has been dreaming for a very long time- and she struggles to follow the emotions in his eyes. There is a joy that makes his eyes bright as a clear sky- and there is hesitation, despair mixed with longing. He stares at her as if he dare not move, as if he dare not move less even his breath shatter her into pieces and she as well sits, suddenly feeling as if what little strength she has gained has left her.
She stares at him without shame, and there is a sound, a sound like a smothered scream, a whisper in her ears.
'You are beautiful,' she thinks, with no small amount of wonder, with a strange awareness. The words come with a clear minded ease, and again- a peculiar dread.
"Do you know who I am?" He whispers delicately, as if he does not want to startle her. She is surprised at the sound of his voice, rugged and weary- it is a voice like a boy's, caught between that strange threshold of adolescence and manhood- but it is filled with a pain she cannot place. It is a voice like the ancients, as if he too has been startled by the sight of his own shadow. A golden mane, she thinks- such beautiful golden hair he has, flowing behind him without restraint, a face framed with unruly golden bangs, so that she wants to smooth them. 'You are beautiful,' she thinks again, unable to breathe. The face of a man who has lived a centuries worth of pain, a face of such an acute indescribable charm that she feels words stay on her tongue. 'Smile for me,' she thinks suddenly, strangely, 'You always smiled for me.'
There is the whisper of something cold and- she wonders as she shakily raises a hand to her face, feeling a strange wetness rolling down her cheeks. They are tears. She…she is crying. And they are cold, bitter tears. She looks up at him in wonder, for understanding.
The sight of her tears seem to distress him somehow, and the thought wounds her although she does not understand it. He steps towards her slowly, carefully, as if he is walking on a floor made of porcelain, his steps silent and easy as if he does not want to startle her.
He brings with him an air of languid power as he draws nearer, a feeling she cannot explain- of slumbering strength. He is wearing loose fitting pants, and an open over coat as he if has just risen. It is open, revealing the magnificent plane of his sculpted chest, rippling skin tinged a golden bronze, as if he has bathed in the sun. And she can feel the heat of his skin, coming to overwhelm her so that she wants to withdraw, to hold herself away. He comes to a complete stop, at what seems a world away. An aura- he has an aura that smells of a wild wind blowing across the sea, of a warm sun overhead and a blue sky- it is in his eyes- such clear blue eyes! Such strength, such unabashed and unforgiving strength- a smothered mirth in the depths of the blue, as if he is holding back laughter. But his face is so frozen, so filled with that indescribable pain that it seems as if he has never known the like.
She stares into his eyes as he draws nearer, a clawed hand outstretched as if he wants to wipe her tears away. He stops himself from touching her, and she releases a breath she does not know she has been holding. He repeats the question, and it sounds as if he is on the verge of some collapse, as if he is standing on the edge of a cliff and looking at a treacherous drop below. "Do you…know me?"
She stares into his eyes curiously, wondering why the tears continue to fall without stopping, dampening the fabric of her kimono. She is crying, and yet she feels no sorrow, detached from it, removed. The words echo in her head as she stares up at him, lodging somewhere deep. "Do you know who I am? Do you know me?" So that she wants to repeat them aloud, to give them form, to make them real.
He creeps closer, slowly dropping to his knees before her, so that he can stare into her eyes. Again- she wants to withdraw, to stand back, to maintain a distance that she somehow felt would provide closure. For what? For whom? How close is his face to hers, such an unknown feral beauty that she stares back helplessly, eyes tracing the strange marking on his cheeks, the sorrow in the depths of his eyes. And there is a powerful, wordless passion, a strange helplessness- lurking behind them as they stare up into hers.
"Dearest Hinata, my love, my reason for life," he murmurs quietly, the words torn from him as if they are born of a weakness he laments as much as he adores it. There is an expression on his face of such anguish and torment that she feels her heart squirm uncomfortably in her chest. She is torn between the innate desire to comfort him- and a strange unspoken warning that she dare not. "Do you remember me?"
It is building, it is swelling, it is growing within her- some semblance of a murky past, beyond the black of the abyss. 'Ask yourself', she thinks suddenly, powerfully. The spirit haunting her murmurs, the spirit haunting her that is herself and all that she used to be. 'Do I…remember? Who…you are?'
"You…" she begins quietly with effort, the words a whisper so quiet she wonders if he can hear it. He does- and he holds his breath as if he dares not release it. Those eyes- turbulent blue eyes- framed by the gold of riches and kings. Blue eyes growing as still as a calm pond, but she does not imagine the unrest, the tense feeling of anticipation that predates them. She does not want to disappoint him somehow- she does not want to voice the words aloud, the words that she knows will turn that turbulent blue into a brooding sea.
"W-Who…are you?" she murmurs quietly, with an acute regret she cannot place. She wants to know him- she wants to know him, is what she thinks. And the price of watching his face crumble like ashes in a strong wind is enough to make her regret the words despite their truth. But he is quick to catch the remains before she is able to fully understand the desperation in it. But he smiles easily, gently-as if he knew well the folly of hope. But the smile is a frightening thing to her in this moment-it is the smile of a ghost standing over a crumbling grave, a smile of a centuries worth of regret. She thinks that he seems as if he has expected this- and somehow she feels as if he is on the verge of tears because of it.
"I am the one who loves you more than life itself, in this world or the next." He states carefully with such strength that she does not doubt it. She cannot speak, uncertain how to even receive the confession, to even process the words and the latent promise in them.
He reaches slowly for the hand hanging limply in her lap, and she allows it, overwhelmed by a weakness that renders her immobile. She is surprised by the feel of his hand as it holds hers. His hand is large, rough and worn- and she does not imagine the power in them. But it is warm- a warmth like home, as if this is the last of many times, her hand fitting within his so perfectly that they seemed as if they had been created for one another. And slowly- softly- as if it is something precious- he raises it to his lips, and he kisses it as if it is the dearest thing in the whole world.
"Then your wish has been granted…and you can learn to think of me what you like. Hate me as you must. Disregard me, cast me aside- I will bear all of it- if it will ease your pain. I know I'm being selfish, I know I can't possibly believe you will forgive me but I...I don't care. I almost lost you once, a moment too late. I will not- I cannot- lose you again." He murmurs the words lowly, like an oath before an altar, like a vow made in blood.
"I…have been lost?" She murmurs in confusion, thinking of the darkness, of the deep of that black abyss that bore no name. He watches her eyes, and the hand holding her own is filled with a strength she can feel, an anchor holding her to this world as if she is a moment from slipping away. He is holding her hand and looking up at her, beautiful blue eyes begging as if he wants her to stay. 'But I am…not going anywhere.' She thinks suddenly although she knows not know why. 'I am right here.'
"Yes." He whispers quietly, sadly, leaning a rugged cheek against the back of her palm as if the very touch of her skin is a solace he has been denied far too long. "You have been lost for a very long time."
"H-How…l…l-long?" She asks carefully, the words wondering and distant, as if she is still somewhere else, a thousand miles away.
He smiles up at her gently, his blue eyes deep and unreadable as he answers. "Ten years."
Welp here you go folks. This isn't my first fanfic on FF despite the blank profile, I go by a helluva lot of names but I don't really want to be burned at the stake by reviewers waiting on me to update some other shit so I sneak posted this If you can figure out who I am I'll give you a lifetime supply of nothing :,D
This was partly inspired by japanese folk tales/legends, the beautiful (if fucking frustrating) manhwa bride of the water god, the helluvamazing naruto universe that allows for such open creativity, and of course the legendary kishimoto-sensei for giving fans the world over plenty of stuff to argue about.